One year and two days after a federal jury found them guilty, three defendants associated with the most deadly and expensive foodborne disease outbreak to occur so far this century will be sentenced in a courtroom in Albany, GA. U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands, who has presided over the criminal proceedings since the federal indictment was unsealed Feb. 15, 2013, has announced that he will sentence Stewart Parnell, former owner and chief executive of Peanut Corporation of America, his peanut broker broker Michael Parnell, and Mary Wilkerson, the former quality manager at PCA’s peanut processing plant in Blakely, GA, on Sept. 21, 2015. http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-male-judge-writing-paper-courtroom-close-up-image46898705After a 35-day trial, a federal jury on Sept. 19, 2014, found Stewart Parnell guilty of 71 counts of conspiracy, interstate shipments fraud, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce with intent to defraud or mislead, and introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce with intent to defraud or mislead. Michael Parnell was convicted on 29 counts of a smaller but similar list of multiple convictions. Wilkerson was convicted on one of two charges of obstruction of justice. Because the Parnell brothers are middle-aged, the multiple-count convictions could add up to the equivalent of life sentences. Wilkerson’s conviction carries a maximum term of 20 years. Federal sentencing guidelines, findings of the pre-sentence investigative reports, and prosecution and defense recommendations will all figure into the mix. The year between the trial and the sentencing is mostly due to the time Sands needed to investigate a juror’s charge of improper jury deliberations. He found that the only problem was the juror making the charges, and he denied defense motions for dismissal or a new trial. Stewart and Michael Parnell were briefly taken into custody after the trial, but they have since been free on cash bonds of $150,000 and $100,000, respectively. Wilkerson has been free on unsecured bond since the indictment. The original 76-count indictment was brought four years after a multistate outbreak of Salmonella connected to peanut butter and peanut paste from PCA processing facilities in Blakely and Plainview, TX. That outbreak was associated with thousands of illnesses and at least nine deaths. Two other PCA employees, former plant manager Samuel Lightsey and former operations manager Daniel Kilgore, were also charged but pleaded guilty before trial under agreements that saw them become government witnesses. They are to be sentenced on Oct. 1. STEWART PARNELL GUILTY VERDICTS 18:1349 and 2 – CONSPIRACY (1) 18:371 and 2 – CONSPIRACY (2) 21:331(a) AND 333(a)(2) and 18:2 – INTRODUCTION OF ADULTERATED FOOD INTO INTERSTATE COMMERCE WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD OR MISLEAD (3-5) 21:331(a) AND 333(a)(2) and 18:2 – INTRODUCTION OF ADULTERATED FOOD INTO INTERSTATE COMMERCE WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD OR MISLEAD (7-22) 21:331(a)and 333(a)(2) and 18:2 – INTRODUCTION OF MISBRANDED FOOD INTO INTERSTATE COMMERCE WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD OR MISLEAD (23-35) 18:1341 – INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS FRAUD (36-55) 18:1343 – WIRE FRAUD (56-60) 18:1343 – WIRE FRAUD (62-67) 18:1505 and 2 – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE(68) 18:1505 and 2 – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE (72) MICHAEL PARNELL GUILTY VERDICTS 18:1349 and 2 – CONSPIRACY (1) 18:371 and 2 – CONSPIRACY (2) 21:331(a)and 333(a)(2) and 18:2 – INTRODUCTION OF MISBRANDED FOOD INTO INTERSTATE COMMERCE WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD OR MISLEAD (23-30) 21:331(a)and 333(a)(2) and 18:2 – INTRODUCTION OF MISBRANDED FOOD INTO INTERSTATE COMMERCE WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD OR MISLEAD (32-35) 18:1341 – INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS FRAUD (36) 18:1341 – INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS FRAUD (39-43) 18:1341 – INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS FRAUD (47-48) 18:1341 – INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS FRAUD (50) 18:1341 – INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS FRAUD (52-54) 18:1343 – WIRE FRAUD (56) 18:1343 – WIRE FRAUD (58-59) 18:1343 – WIRE FRAUD (61) 18:1343 – WIRE FRAUD(67) MARY WILKERSON GUILTY VERDICT 18:1505 and 2 – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE (73)

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  • KennethKendrick

    I have looked forward to this for six years, may justice prevail but nothing can repair the damage this guy caused. I can not wait for the deaths to finally be on court record ( that was not allowed at trial)

  • Ginger Lorentz

    It was a long time coming and will provide the families with some closure!!! I would love to forgive them but it is hard to do if there is no remorse or accepting of the responsibility for the deaths and illness their actions caused. I will be there to see it!!!!